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WIA Profile: April Hoopes

WIA Profile: April Hoopes

Each month, XBIZ spotlights the career accomplishments and outstanding contributions of Women in Adult. WIA profiles offer an intimate look at the professional lives of the industry's most influential female executives.

When you do what you love, they say, you’ll never work a day in your life — and when your job involves educating the masses about sex toys, it’s hard not to love what you do.

My main focus as director of sales is to get our products into the hands of as many people as I possibly can.

As director of sales for pleasure brand Edonista, April Hoopes would surely agree. While working her way through the industry, Hoopes has played numerous roles, from retail shop clerk to manufacturer sales rep and product trainer. But it is her current spot, as Edonista’s leading lady in the B2B department, that is closest to her heart, constituting her true dream job.

Edonista’s mission and dedication to sex education for both business and consumer markets, combined with superior products and client relationships, has fulfilled her highest career hopes in every way imaginable, Hoopes says.

As we induct Hoopes into the WIA Woman of the Month roster, we hope her story will inspire future generations of ladies to shoot for the stars in their pleasure industry careers.

XBIZ: How did you come to work for Edonista?

April Hoopes: I started with Edonista in February of last year. The founders, Azul and Coby, actually found me and reached out. At the time, I was working for another company, but so many of their missions and ideals aligned with what I had been trying to do in this industry for years. It’s rare that we get the opportunity to start at the beginning and I knew it was an opportunity that might not ever come around again.

XBIZ: What makes Edonista different from other brands?

Hoopes: We’re taking a lot of the feedback from customers and applying it to our brand. Edonista has already started making its mark in the industry with made-for-retail packaging, competitive pricing and unique store incentives. We’re focused on the belief that education should be at the forefront of the industry, so we are 100% committed to offering in-person and Zoom trainings along with both printed and digital training assets. I ask people to not be fooled by what they see in an online catalog. At first glance, Edonista just looks like any other brand, but look a bit closer and you’ll find a brand that listens to its customers and delivers on its promises. We’re affordable, mid-range power, all wrapped up in beautiful packaging.

XBIZ: In your role at Edonista, how do you interact with the pleasure industry? Tell us about what your job entails within the B2B space.

Hoopes: My main focus as director of sales is to get our products into the hands of as many people as I possibly can. When I came to Edonista, they had been trialing the brand online only. We wanted to make sure that all the kinks were worked out. Did we have the right mix of product, colors, packaging and pricing? Doing it this way ensured that we were bringing to retailers and distributors a brand that we knew would sell. My career in this industry started with brick and mortar, and that is where I hope to take Edonista! I hope by supporting the adult retailers and distributors — instead of going to big-box ecommerce and retailers — that the industry will give us back the same opportunity and loyalty.

XBIZ: What keeps you grounded in your work? What is it about your job and this industry that keeps you feeling proud and happy to be here?

Hoopes: My family for sure; I wouldn’t be here without them. But I also have a core group of industry people that I have come to rely on. Some of them probably don’t even realize how much of an impact they have had on my life. They push me, support me and talk me down from the ledge when needed. My favorite moments are the ones when I feel like I’ve made a difference. When someone tells me I’m the reason they fell in love with the industry, or staff in the store get excited to see me for a training because they remember the last time I was there, they learned so much and had so much fun. I remember every customer I had when I worked in the stores who told me I made an impact, and who came back and thanked me. The couples that rekindled romance because we made a difference for them. That’s why I do it; why all of us road warriors do it. Why we give up time with our families, why we spend days and weeks on the road, eating dinners in hotel bars by ourselves and driving endlessly for hours at a time. We all do it for those moments that make us feel complete, knowing this is what we’re meant to be doing.

XBIZ: What led you to become director of sales for Edonista?

Hoopes: Technically, I started in 2002 as a dancer. I did that on and off for a couple years, but in 2007, I started working in retail for Adultmart in Cleveland, Ohio. I spent almost 10 years on the retail side, then took a break from the industry for about nine months, which is when Greg Alves from Evolved called and offered me a sales position there. I think most people in retail could name that one company that, if you got a call, it would be a dream come true. Evolved was that for me. It changed my entire life and I will forever be grateful for the family there and all I learned from all of them. After Evolved, I spent some time with Nu Sensuelle as their director of sales, learning, growing and making more connections, and now we’re here.

XBIZ: What other Women in Adult inspire you?

Hoopes: We are incredibly lucky to have an industry filled with so many amazing women who are making changes and paving the way for the next generation of women, so it’s hard to narrow it down to only a few. I’ll always be grateful to Rondee Kamins at GVA-TWN/Adultmart. She was my first industry mentor and everything I continue to do is with the hope that she’ll be proud.

To name only a handful: Jennifer Brice, Janet Reynolds, Jessica Drake. Megan Swartz, Raven Faber and XBIZ’s own Sara Ramirez are all women who have been inspirations and made a positive impact on my career. Watching their success and how they empower other women in this industry has been truly remarkable to see and I’m incredibly proud to know each of them.

I know she’s not yet known to many in the industry, but I also want to give focus to my boss and Edonista’s founder, Azul. Her hard work, dedication to and passion for our brand give me something to aspire to every day. Seeing more women achieve so much greatness both in and out of our industry has been amazing, and I’m so grateful I get a front-row seat to Edonista’s success, alongside Azul and our entire team.

XBIZ: Where do you foresee the future of the pleasure industry in the next handful of years? What kind of developments and evolution are you excited to see?

Hoopes: I think we’re going to see the sexual health and wellness industry become even more mainstream, or at least that is my hope. While I know there are varying opinions on pleasure products being sold in big-box retail and ecommerce, I think we can all agree that removing the stigma around sexual pleasure can only have a positive outcome for all of us. I’m excited to see smaller, boutique brands like Edonista thriving, and I'm gratified that distributors recognize our loyalty to them and our unparalleled passion for what we do.

From a consumer standpoint, I think the industry is seeing a larger shift, with more women taking control of their sexual health and pleasure. Gone are the days when we had to hide our pleasure, desires and kinks and put our passions on the back burner. It’s a new era for women, and we are no longer accepting anything less than everything.

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